African Resilience Initiative for Entrepreneurs offers support for women entrepreneurs

The African Resilience Initiative for Entrepreneurs (ARIE) is currently working to support businesses through a zero-interest loan program with a strong focus on women entrepreneurs.


What is ARIE?

ARIE is a Pan-African initiative committed to supporting 300 African entrepreneurs – 70% of whom will be women – by providing financial and technical assistance as well as a platform for networking that aims to connect entrepreneurs to potential investors. The initiative was started by Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners (ESPartners) in partnership with the US African Development Foundation (USADF), recognizing that women entrepreneurs have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Challenges they normally face in access to finance, skills building support, markets, and information have been exacerbated by the crisis, and they need additional support to recover, reinvent  and rebuild their businesses following the pandemic.


What specific opportunities are available for SMEs?

ARIE will support entrepreneurs from seven countries (Rwanda, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Senegal) and from among the agri-business, manufacturing, energy and renewables, and essential services sectors. Selected SMEs will have the opportunity to receive up to 150,000 USD per firm ( Rwf .150 Million approx.). The funds will be disbursed as an interest-free loan to ensure businesses have the working capital they need to maintain operations and scale despite the pandemic.


ARIE will assign each entrepreneur to a business advisor that will support them in diagnosing and rethinking their strategy and operational efficiencies. They will then have access to a team of experts that will help them adapt to and navigate the present economic reality.


Finally, the ARIE platform will help SMEs harness opportunities unleashed by the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area. It will connect African SMEs to potential investors and the networks they require to expand their geographical coverage, thus enhancing their capacity to trade across borders. The ARIE platform will also be a repository on a wide range of topics, including access to markets, building human capacity, and scaling.


How do I apply?

Applications will be available from 24th August through 25th September 2020. Interested SMEs should visit to apply.


For more information, contact:

Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners (ESPartners)


Email: or